Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4th, Memphis Style

Happy Independence day. In Memphis, the local news crews requested that people not fire their guns into the air because the ammunition will ultimately come down somewhere. But I suppose that demographic wasn't watching the news and shot up the place anyway. A man ate some Bar-B-Que with his ex-girlfriend's family in Overton Park, then shot her and killed himself while children played nearby. A man was struck in the leg while mowing his yard, a mother and her young child were grazed by bullets as they celebrated in a downtown park, and my stepson, Cameron, and two of his friends were robbed at gunpoint in an elevator of the parking garage at Peabody Place. There were no security cameras present in the elevators or the garage. We are technologically able to watch a man on YouTube spend forty-eight hours in a New York office building elevator, but the proprietors of Peabody Place can't stick a security camera in the parking lot.

As usual, I wasn't going to answer the 1:30 AM call with the unknown number on the caller ID, until Cameron said, "If you're listening, pick up." He was unhurt physically, if not bruised morally, and was calling mainly to tell me to cut off the service to his stolen cell phone. He had no keys and needed to come by and asked me to tell his mother. I awoke Melody first with the news that he was safe, then filled in the details. I shared her outrage, doubly so, because this is the second time in two years that Cameron has had a gun pointed in his face.("Baghdad On the Mississippi;" 8/6/07). When Melody asked me the race of the gunman, I said, "Black." Only then, because I've somehow retained some semblance of sensitivity, did I realize that Cameron had never told me the armed robber's race, I had merely assumed he was black, and pointed out my own racial prejudices to my wife.

Of course, the gunman was black. There are no Caucasian armed robbers preying on innocent people who came downtown to see the fireworks and celebrate the Fourth. My black friends and acquaintances know that I am not one to launch into some quasi-racist tirade for two reasons; I would never say or write anything I would not comfortably discuss face to face, and I do not generalize. As part of a group that has been generalized about, I recognized that brand of foolishness long ago from being Jewish, and though anti-Semitism was never as virulent in the South as racial hatred, I understand the injustice of painting any group of people with so broad a brush as to deny individuality. Having said that, allow me to delve into a topic that may be none of my damn business; the crisis among young black men, and the affects on the larger community.

Cameron is of a group now called the "post-racial generation." While I never attended classes with anyone of a different race than me until I reached college, Cameron has always been part of a racially mixed social and scholastic group. He has as many black friends as white, and I can honestly say that even as a teenager, he was the least racially conscience person I'd ever met. So I asked him, "What is it? Is it a generational thing? Is it this insane "thug culture?" Cameron suggested people were getting held up when I was a kid, and I replied, "Never like this. There were never so many guns on the streets." The result is that Memphis ranks #1 in property crimes among major cities, and is among the top five cities in violent crime. Once gang free, Memphis is riddled with gangbangers killing each other and the occasional innocent child on the swing set.

Then Cameron made it plain for me by explaining that it is several decades of teenage mothers having babies that fall immediately adrift; homeless, helpless, aimless. It's too much drug abuse and pointless existences among young men that prefer to victimize others rather than gain for themselves. It's a gang mentality that stresses "revenge" as manly and studious pursuits as "white." But it's not so much a societal thing as just plain ignorance. Among an older generation of black people, there is great dismay and confusion that has been unreported by the media until only recently when certain famous celebrities spoke out. Even Jesse Jackson admitted to his own embarrassed relief, when he found the group of men that were walking behind him to be white and not black. Is it fair to blame the entertainment media's glorification of the "gangsta?" In my young days, we all watched "Shaft" and "Superfly," but it didn't cause a rash of young men to go out and become pimps and private dicks.

I have no answers. I only hope this violent era passes with the violence that provoked it. Sensible whites and blacks feel the same about this crisis that stares us in the face down the barrel of a gun. The handgun manufacturers and their enablers, like the Supreme Court, won't be satisfied until we're all sporting side holsters like in Old Dodge City. Then, by God, nobody dare tread on us. Or on our neighbors' yards either, as was the case in Texas last week when a man killed two men running from the house next door, and wasn't charged. This may mollify some, but I don't want to live this way. I told Cameron that perhaps the election of Barack Obama will inspire a new generation that doesn't want to live this way any longer either. He just said, "Don't count on it." Meanwhile, Cameron says he's, "outta' here. I'm going home." He is joining the Peace Corps, and by "home," he meant Mother Africa, where he has requested to be located. We hope he'll be safer there.


Anonymous said...

As Camerons Mom I felt like I should say something about all this craziness too. Of course I'm not guite as nice as Randy about the asshole that robbed these really good kids, don't get me wrong these young men had had a few beers and were in a great mood. So when this asshole started joking around and being nice to the boys they responded with good humor and kindness. I keep telling the kids not to be so nice to strangers anymore.Maybe they have learned a lesson because when an older man got out of the elevator this jerk pulls a gun and takes all their stuff.Thank god he didn't take their lives over a few bucks and some cell phones, it happens all the time. Too bad also that my son thinks Africa is more home than Memphis,where he was raised.Hey, ya know what,I"M OUTTA HERE TOO,as soon as I can find another HOME.God help us all. Melody Haspel

Anonymous said...

Is Cameron REALLY joining the Peace Corps???? WOW. Everybody I know who did that is doing something meaningful these days. I wish him the best! JS

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't live in Memphis, TN for any amount. The lowlifes have taken the city to an extrodinary low. The blacks own downtown, every mall. They destroy every thing they own, including their own children and families.
I remember when Lamar ave. use to be a thriving street with ice cream places and burger stops, that my family would love to 'splurge' and go to once a month. That's just one of the hundreds of major streets in Memphis that's been completely destroyed by the government supported handouts and 'let us help you' programs. If they'd all get off their asses, and get a job, we'd all be better off.
I, for one, am happy as a lark to be in the suburbs. The next time I move it'll be even further from the insanity.
Sure gas is high, but it's WORTH IT to drive far away from that crap!
Melody, I'm sure thankful your son and his friend weren't killed. The scary thing is, it's a 'miracle' that they weren't.
It's time WE revolt. Get your self a sidearm folks, it'll come in handy someday.
We're locked and loaded, bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Get a handgun, learn how to use it, and carry it. You can't change a culture, but you can protect yourself and your family. You don't have to be afraid all the time.

Anonymous said...

I'm your neighbor and am thankful for your feelings about old west shootouts. I can imagine you and Melody behind the monkey grass pickin' off those that exit my home.
When I think about Cameron and his friends my chest feels tight. As the mother of a young man who also doesn't know a stranger, I feel frightened and very, very sad.
I was a participant in the recent Common Ground for improvement in race relations workshop and know that "drop in the bucket" won't have much of an impact on the big picture. Teenage mothers with nonexistent parenting skills and little education having babies with no visible fathers. The absence of sex and birth control education in our schools. A religious community and political system that do nothing to bring about change. I think of those young women and their lack of self-worth and wonder why there aren't classes on every street corner to teach them they should be valued for more than their bodies.
I read about what happened to Cameron and I am sad and fearful for our future. I am also sad but proud that he will be leaving this country to help elsewhere. You have raised a fine young man.
Melody, Randy, Cameron and thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

A Liberal is a reasonable person who hasn't been mugged.
I'm just curious as to why you find this to be 'news?'

In a town where the "minority" population comprises 65+% and where 95+% of Memphis felonies are committed by Blacks, why the shock?

Anonymous said...

Melody, I know your fear, terror, and anger are greater than Cameron's (like all good Moms) and my heart goes out to you. Cameron's insightful and simple diagnosis of the problem couldn't be more accurate. When he comes back from the peace corp (which is a quite admirable venture) I would like to elect him to be our next mayor. That may just be the beginning of the city's rescue.

Anonymous said...

Cameron sounds wise for his years.

So when do we demand more welfare reform?

Jeff said...

None of what I say or ask here should be construed as an attempt to in any way
belittle the frightening incident you relate. But, in the end (and at least for
another year and a few months) I have a responsibility to work to improve
conditions in Downtown. Including the reduction of crime no matter that right
now only about 4 percent of the crime in Memphis is taking place in the Downtown
Precinct area. (Small consolation to someone who is an unfortunate victim!).

There are four Peabody Place garages: the Peabody Office Tower Garage (bottom
level of the office tower which also includes the Flying Saucer), the Blues
Garage (next to the Hampton Inn), the 250 Peabody Place Garage (facing Handy
Park and with Hooters occupying some of its street level space), and the Peabody
Hotel Garage (with a hotel motor entrance on Second and also one on Gayoso just
off of Third). We (DPA - Downtown Parking Authority) run two of these garages:
the Office Tower Garage and the 250 Peabody Place Garage).

First, I'd like to know specifically in which garage the incident took place?
And second, date and time. And, third to whom was the incident reported?
Whether it took place in our garage or not, we will get an incident report
either from private security or MPD. Our Downtown Safety Coordinator, Larry
Bloom (a former Dallas cop), will follow up once he's looked at the report.

Doesn't make things any better for the victims, but we are spending a lot of
money on security and we are always trying to improve. Both of our garages have
mounted interior security camera systems that are monitored by our contract
security officers during operating hours. If the subject incident took place in
one of these two garages, the perps were very likely photographed by the camera
system even if the incident itself was not. But, positive identification might
be made, and the police would have something to go on (and our guards would have
photos in case the perps decided to make a return visit).

Finally, who should we get in touch with in the event more information is
needed, or we need one of the guys to identify suspects from the photos?

Guess it doesn't mean much to tell you only about 4 percent of the crime in
Memphis is taking place in the Downtown Precinct area, and an even smaller
percentage of violent crime. Hmmm...guess there is no such thing as minor
surgery if you're the one going under the knife!

Anonymous said...

Egads(!!!) and thank God Cameron is OK. Although I am the type of person who really believes innocence provides its own form of body armor (or grace), it's gotten so wierd here, it's now stun gun time for me.

Anonymous said...

Well, I see that ignorance and racism, accompanied by the expected twisting of facts and statistics to prove and justify what one already thinks and believes, is alive and well in Memphis.

There are literally thousands of reasons why things are the way they are. To try to reduce
an extraordinarily complex set of social, historical, cultural, economic and political interactions to something as inane as "get a handgun," or "we're locked and loaded," or "If they'd all get off their asses and get a job" just continues to focus the spotlight on the ubiquitous and staggering stupidity and ignorance of the proponents of such wonderfully creative "solutions."

For those of you have convinced yourselves that life in suburbia is the answer to all of your problems...

Maybe all of us old farts, regardless of ethnicity, should just let the kids have it. Somehow, they seem to do a much better job of seeing through all the bullshit, and don't carry nearly as much baggage around with them, except, perhaps, what has been piled on their shoulders by their more astute elders.

I'm overjoyed that Cameron came through this ordeal pretty much unscathed. Sounds like a really good kid with a bright future. My compliments to his upbringing.

Look, people, the tendency to rationalize everything in 10 second soundbites and culturally acceptable cliches is what keeps us all from having to take on the dreary and difficult task of THINKING!! Try it sometime.
If you know how.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'm glad Cameron was not hurt, many are not so lucky. As to the comment about "getting a handgun" inane, it is anything but. Same applies to a stun gun. Taking whatever precautions necessary to protect yourself is not inane. It is a way of protecting your life. As a husband, wife, father, mother you have a moral obligation to take care of yourself. You have family that depends on you. It would be no different if you refused to accept medical help if your health was bad. Whining about guns, the Supreme Court, and society doesn't mean s%#* and doesn't cure anything. If you do not take advantage of things that can protect yourself and your family, then you have failed in your obligations to the ones that depend on you. I'm talking about an alarm system, a dog, a gun, proper lighting around your house, motion sensors, etc. There are many options. If you truly believe, though, that calling 911 is the answer, then God help you in a real crisis. No problem, just tell the intruders that you have called the police (response time 20-30 minutes) and ask them to please wait on the porch until they (the police) arrive (if ever). You can have "It's a failure of society" engraved on your tombstone, but you are still six feet under, and it's cold in the ground.

Anonymous said...

You should move to Utah or South Dakota where the possibility of seeing any Black people is practically nil, but Aryan Nation and skinheads are all over the place. Maybe you'll feel safer in that lovely environment

Anonymous said...

Terrible news to hear about Cameron's experience. When are you two going to take us up on the offer of an Oregon vacation??? We'd love to see you and sounds like you could use a break from Memphis. Mi casa es su casa. All we have out here are a lot of hippies loaded with tie dye.

Gregg said...

Mel and Randy---Glad that Cameron was not hurt. Lesson probably learned about watching out for himself. Is he really signed up for the Peace Corps? I know someone who was in Nepal for a few years. Only good things to say about it. Rich experience for anybody, formative for a young person. When is this happening?

The Watcher said...

Wintermute thinks that welfare reform will solve Memphis' crime problem?!! This position is deserving only of ridicule. And Anonymous (July6,5:23pm) thinks that the commentators are ignorant and racist and that the facts are all you live on this planet? The fact that blacks make up 12% of the population and commit over 90% of the violent crime in this country tells the tale. And don't give me the bunk about poverty being the root cause of crime. If you go back to the pre-industrial era, everyone was poor and there was very little crime. And what about all of the poor people living today who CHOOSE not to commit crime? The truth is hard to swallow, but spewing forth pure bunk sure won't accomplish anything. The only solution to Memphis' crime problem is to move. Some of you may not approve, but things will only get worse in Memphis, just wait and see. Randy, you really should consider going to Oregon. It is a paradise for hippie culture. The Oregon coast is awesome. For that matter, the northern California coast is glorious.

Anonymous said...

Cameron may help there to be peace in Africa. But here? Some folks, even Barack, says we need to have a conversation about race in America .
White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the '60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks -- with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas -- to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks..

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

Mr Obamah talks about new "ladders of opportunity" for blacks.

Let him go to Altoona and Johnstown, and ask the white kids in Catholic schools how many were visited lately by Ivy League recruiters handing out scholarships for "deserving" white kids.

Is white America really responsible for the fact that the crime and incarceration rates for African-Americans are seven times those of white America? Is it really white America's fault that illegitimacy in the African-American community has hit 70 percent and the black dropout rate from high schools in some cities has reached 50 percent ?

As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence. Is Barack Obama aware that while white criminals choose black victims 3 percent of the time, black criminals choose white victims 45 percent of the time?

Are people aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse?

We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al about Tawana Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena. And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black assaults on whites that are real, we hear nothing.

Some of us have heard it all before, about 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago.

Now get yer gun and protect yosef.

Anonymous said...

What else needs to be said? However, the best protection is to get away from large concentrations of blacks. Every urban center with a lot of blacks has the same problems. Heck, look at Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is a continental ghetto filled with horrors that stagger the imagination. And these horrors will soon come to your neighborhood. Get out while you have a chance. My apologies go to all non-violent and non-criminal blacks...all 10 of them.

Anonymous said...

"Run, run as fast as you can..." White flight in the 21st century. You idiots and that kind of thinking are a huge part of the reason nothing ever improves.

Do us all a favor, boys. If Oregon, or South Dakota, or Utah, or rural Texas ease your unbelievably bigoted minds and make you feel good about continuing to con yourself about the actual facts concerning the history of this country, then "Hit the road, Jack, and don'tcha come back no more, no more, no more, no more." Good riddance!!

Get a brain, get a heart, get some balls.

Anonymous said...

Randy, don't beat yourself up because your first thought was that a black commited the crime. There is a big difference between a racist and a realist. If the stats show that 95% of the violent crime in Memphis is perpetrated by blacks, then it is only logical that your first thought wouldn't be, 'I bet that a one-armed, Asian, lesbian pygmy commited the crime'. Nothing is more pathetic than a liberal who is so desperate for reality to fit his paradigms that he tends to say things like, 'I bet that there is something in Memphis' water supply that causes blacks to commit so much crime. Or, maybe if we gave them more money they wouldn't be so violent'. Races do manifest group behavior patterns. If you step back and examine the facts you can see this. Consider the Asians as a group, or the Hispanics. Now, look at Africa (or any sizable ghetto in America). Then, talk about facts. That is not being racist. It is merely talking about facts. Parenthetically, the dude who thinks folks that leave urban areas to avoid crime have no balls should consider that his prejudices (even if they are more politically correct) may get him killed. Perhaps he has no brains.

Anonymous said...

Buddy, I got your balls hangin'.Yeah, that's a great idea you asshole-- let's all get guns.Yeah, that's just what we should all do. Geez,spare me.Just because you want to move to a better enviornment does not mean your a bleeding heart liberal.Opps, I forgot,I am one.LOL

davethedog said...

Hey wait a minute hippies, I thought Barack Obama was going to solve all of this. What happened to the ride on the "love train".

I don't see any solution other than to try and avoid the situation. It is pretty ironic that anyone would feel guilty that they "assumed" the robber was black, when it was night in downtown Memphis. Who else would it be Sai Baba sprinkling verbuti on the masses?

I will interject one opinion. Guns are for "pussies". I like the knife. I am like O.J. in that respect. The Vorpal sword goes snicker-snack! Right?

But it wouldn't be mid-town Memphis without Randy & Melody. Keep up the good work bro. & sis.

On July 4th two well known men died, Jesse Helms and Larry Harmon. One was an ignorant, embarrassing clown and the other played BOZO!


Anonymous said...

Don't be talkin bad bout my homies. I is gon be cuttin some honky mofo's haid.

Randy said...

If you are not from Memphis, you have not seen this shocking video of police abuse. It proves that violence runs both ways here, and had it not been for a local TV station, this footage would have been surpressed. Not for the faint of heart. Wish I knew how to do hyperlinks.

randy said...

I don't know but that this link may work. Maybe not.

padre patro said...

Dear Mama Melody and Brother Randy! My heart goes out to you and Cameron. The peace of God be with you. I could only imagine the fear and anger that has come upon you and your family. I have been homesick for Memphis for 20 years...then I hear these stories...but when your close friends and family are in the story it breaks your heart. I know things are kind of muddy (oops!) right now but try to let things settle. I went to this retreat once and this Franciscan monk took a glass that had mud in the bottom and clear water at the top. Then he shook it up to the point where you could no longer see through the glass. He put the glass down and said , "This glass must be still before the waters can be clear again!" He said that trauma came upon him once and that he was obsessed with anger, rage and revenge but that his spiritual director said to him that when your house has been set on fire by an arsonist, don't go chasing after the arsonist, but instead put out the fire in your house. I pray that the shalom of God will put out the fires that have unjustly come upon Cameron and the heart of his family. Be still before God ...let your heart settle in prayers of surrendering devotion. I am proud that Melody and Randy have raised a young man of peace and Cameron is right. We are all African- Americans. She is our Mother of sorts! Cameron sounds like my youngest -Sally! She has done social work in Myanmar and India and has visited Israel and all over Europe. She loves to drink a pint with the Padre every once in a while. She quit her job to help out her sister Liz with Lydia and the boys.
It was a wacky 4Th for us as well. Cindy and I and two other couples were on a pontoon boat watching the fireworks on Lake Mohawk in Sparta NJ until lightning struck the could here the sizzle. The fireworks stopped. It was pitch black... then the real fireworks began. Hundreds of boats were being tossed back and forth...and it sounded like we were in Baghdad for sure...but we were able by the grace of God to keep calm through the storm. Plus they couldn't tell I wet my pants because of the rain. Back to Cameron! He will constantly be in my heart in prayer that he will be healed of all trauma. We are all crying for a change. What Memphis needs is a change of heart. Miss Y'all a lot.

The Peace Of The Lord! Padre Patro

Brian said...

Having been raised in part of the country where I never experienced racism, enlisted in the USMC and never experienced racism and then moved to Memphis and became a Memphis Police Officer and experienced EXTREME racism both ways, every day was quite a shock I must say. Even when my black field training officer showed racism towards me was a slap in the face.

What saddens me is that Memphis continues to get worse and worse. I quit the Police department last year because I had replaced my income doing network marketing. I left Memphis because I felt like it was a hopeless city. The Police had been denied a raise, and there was no way to get promoted due to racism law suites. I actually made less money in 2006 then I did 2005 as a Police officer. I knew I had to go and I wasn’t raised there so I didn’t have deep roots there. I did leave to go back to where I was happy, where I don’t experience the deep seated racism. Where there’s rarely a violent crime. Where I actually feel safe to go to the mall and walk around at night.

Memphis is a city where the blame has to lay on leadership chosen by the people, a Mayor and City Council that don’t make a difference except for padding their wallets with money. So again the blame has to go to everyone that lives there. The people continued to elect corrupt politicians because of their color, not because of their leadership. I remember Willie saying on t.v. one of the times he was re-elected that he did it and no thanks goes out to the “white devils out in east Memphis”. If your leader is racist then why shouldn’t everyone be?

If every individual took responsibility and stopped pointing the blame finger on black, white, brown, Midtown, Cordova, south Memphis people and just started with themselves then just maybe something might change.

On my tour of working South, East, Central and Northeast precincts I met a lot of good people that just wanted to be safe and happy. To me the solution starts with us and ending the blame game.

Stay safe; always be aware of your surroundings and if you do get robbed don’t be a hero, give them what they want.

I know there is a high statistic of people that carry guns that have their own gun used against them so be careful if that is the route you chose also.

Good luck to Cameron.

Great blog!

Sputnik57 said...

Thank you for your insightful comments. To be fair, the "East Memphis devils" remark was made by Harold Ford, Sr.

Anonymous said...

I would like to ask you Memphis in the spirit of Southern Artist Clyde Broadway. "Who is taking care of that Elvis is dead?" Never give up on Memphis! As Sireen once said, "It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkie or the whitebread in Memphis Tn.!" Like the Padre said, "Memphis needs a change of heart!"(READ THE PROPHET JOEL) Just as the Good Lord changed water into wine & the good padre turned beer into urine ...WE CAN TAKE THIS DUNG SO UNJUSTLY FLUNG AND GROW A GARDEN OF LOVELY ROSES ALL OVER THIS GREAT CITY OF MEMPHIS. IN THE SPIRIT OF CAMERON LET'S ALL JOIN THE PEACE CORE...BUT BRING THAT PEACE RIGHT HERE TO THE RIVER CITY! BUILD SOME ROADS AND BRIDGES OF RACIAL PEACE! ALL ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF G*D! MEMPHIS! IT'S TIME FOR SOME REAL RESTORATION. I LOVE YOU MEMPHIS & it wouldn't be the same without Sputnik & his Chick! SheckyKierkegaardMcGirk

Anonymous said...

To appreciate the plight that Memphis has come to you need to be about Randy's age. Older folks can remember a much different and safer Memphis. A city in which you could go almost anywhere at any time of day or night and be completely safe. In the summer of '64, I biked through the heart of the ghetto from east Memphis all the way to the Arkansas bridge at midnight with a couple of girls and there wasn't even a hint of a problem. A bunch of my buddies and I regularly partied at Club Paradise (in the ghetto) in the summer of '67, and got completely drunk and we were never menaced in any fashion. We tore all through the city at all hours of the night as drunk as we could be and never experienced even a hint of trouble. It was an era of excess, so lots of people around here were doing the same thing. In comparison, Memphis is now a war zone. It is about as dangerous to life and limb as Iraq. And this is true of most large urban areas in America. Most of this disintegration has occured since the passage of all of the civil rights laws and the forking over of trillions of dollars in minority aide plus all of the affirmative action stuff. What is going on? Things are much worse now in terms of violence than they were in the pre-civil rights era. Why all of the violence now? Anyone have any non-bullshit answers? And don't give me the crap about unequal income distribution. Income distribution was much worse in the old days.

Anonymous said...

The racial chasm we still tip toe around will never be closed so long as we whites must mind every word we utter while anyone of practically any other race can poke fun at our 'whiteness' unimpeded.

Look at successful black films, and by successful I mean those NOT by Spike Lee, and it's either about white woman fantasy or about scheming up some idea on how to get around the law.

White society has indeed made numerous attempts to make slave reparations, as pointed out by other comments regarding government intervention(s), most pointedly with 1954 decision on de-segregation.

The trouble I see is blacks still hold themselves down by refusing to 'whiten up' AT ALL. Sellouts or Toms or whatever you want to call them discourages upward aspirations. So just hangin' out and 'gettin your drink on' is widely acceptable and takes the pressure off of trying any harder. After all The Man is still trying to get ya, right? Paranoia still rules.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the old days, say pre-1970, look at the Memphis City Schools. Like the previous comment about the violence, you would have to be pretty old to appreciate the difference. The difference is staggering, almost surreal. The MCS used to be tip-top with the vast majority of graduates going to college, and the worst discipline issues were things like talking during class. Now MCS is a cesspool. I quit the city schools during the 1977-78 school year, because I was assigned to an inner city school. The bedlam there was so intolerable that I walked off the job in mid year. This was humiliating to me, because at the time I was extremely liberal. I felt like a failure in terms of my ideals, but I couldn't cope with the barbarity. I finished the year out as a sub and hand-picked what I thought would be some civilized schools in which to work. They weren't much better. I thought to myself then (spring of '78) that if the taxpayers could witness what I see almost every day there would be a revolution. The amazing thing is that the powers that be kept the situation quiet for as long as they did. It wasn't until there was utter chaos that the general public found out what it was really like in MCS. The city schools have been trashed for at least 30 years. What do you think could have caused such a drastic change in such a short period of time, roughly 8 years? I could enumerate many horror stories, but I will spare you the details. Anyone who has worked in the MCS system (with the possible exception of White Station and Ridgeway) knows what I am talking about.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I've got an idea for the guy who made the previous statement. Do you think that the problem with the city schools could have anything to do with the fact that large numbers of blacks were dumped into the system by busing? I know that this may seem far fetched to some of you, but I think that this could have something to do with the surreal change that took place in such a short period of time that he was talking about.I can hear some of you saying that the root problem was white flight. If you say this, then you must be saying that blacks have to have the presence of white people in order to behave themselves and in order to achieve. I for one could never entertain such a racist idea.If there is nothing to be racist about, then blacks should be able to perform and to behave like any other grouping of people. If they can't, then maybe the racists are on to something.

Anonymous said...

Those of us in the District of Columbia, now that the Supreme Court has invalidated our hand gun ban, look forward to competing with Memphis in all aspects of gun violence. Our best to you and Melody; our best to Cameron.

Arthur and Edie

Anonymous said...

Guns don't kill people. Violent people kill people with guns, or knives, or baseball bats, or bricks, or brass knuckles, or machetes, or sharp sticks, or poison, or by strangling, or by drowning, or with chainsaws, or by hanging, or by running over them with cars, or by impaling them, or by breaking their necks, or by burning them, or by the use of acid, etc., etc., etc. The common denominator is violent people. The gun issue is similar to saying that pot is a terrible threat because it is THE gateway drug. This is as much a crock of crap as the gun issue. The first substance that a person uses to alter their virginal consciousness with is the gateway drug. It gives them a taste for the altered state. And for 99.9% of the population that drug is alcohol. Pot is the whipping boy and so are guns.

Anonymous said...

How come the local news stations daily feature the latest violent crimes practically all of which are committed by blacks. Then, to add insult to injury they always interview the local street people about the crimes, of whom most can barely speak English. Also, in the Commercial Appeal in the Local News section, they always show mugshots of the latest local felons who are always mostly black. Is this any way to sell Memphis to newcomers? Maybe they should be quiet about it and let the newcomers be surprised after they move here. Otherwise, Memphis' white population will continue to dwindle.

Anonymous said...

Every spring the Commercial Appeal publishes the achievement test scores for all of the city and county schools. Several years ago they would post the actual composite scores for each school by subject. Many of the city schools would have composite scores for English, math, science, etc. which were in the single digits. For example, a given school might have a composite score in English of 9. This would be the average score in English for all students in that school. The contrast of the scores between city and county would be staggering. Most county schools would score in the upper 80's or in the nineties in a subject like English. A few years back it was decided to post the scores as pass or fail, rather than to post the actual composite numbers, because the contrast was deemed too stark for the city taxpayers to witness. It might make make them less happy about forking over nearly a billion dollars in taxpayers hard earned money for a system that gets such abysmally low scores. My question is this: Is this ethical? Shouldn't the people who pay the tax dollars be able to see the actual results of what is being produced by the city schools? It took decades for the public to finally be made aware of the disciplinary chaos in the schools. This was a blatant cover-up. Now they are trying to cover-up the actual academic performance of the city schools. How can things improve if facts are not squarely faced?